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Best computers

What are the best computers for your needs? Consumer Reports is your resource for researching computers. We provide unbiased buying advice and independent, expert reviews you can trust. We’ve lab-tested more than 150 different models, including desktop computers and laptop computers. Before you go out to shop for a computer, read our reviews to narrow down the best computers for your needs.

See more about best computers.

Our expert lab technicians evaluated and scored computers on each of the following characteristics to find the best computer in each category:

  • Operating system: the one that was installed at the time of testing.

  • Ergonomics: quality of the computer keyboard and pointing device; accessibility of features.

  • Portability: includes battery life and weight of the computer, including the keyboard dock for detachable laptops.

  • Performance: while running productivity applications, multimedia applications, and 3D games.

  • Versatility: inclusion of computer hardware such as memory-card slots and AV connections, software such as security programs and productivity applications, and tech support and warranty provisions.

  • Display: display size, clarity, color, contrast, brightness, and glare.

  • Battery life: computer battery life in hours while running a benchmark that runs productivity applications; estimated for Macs by running a video playback loop.

  • Weight: weight of a laptop as you would carry it around, including the battery, the keyboard dock of detachable laptops, but without the power adapter.

  • Thin and light: based on weight and depth.

  • Touchscreen: Windows 8 computers with screens that are sensitive to finger contact.

  • Overall score: out of 100 points, reflects all the computer Ratings factors.

Below is a list of the best computers in each of the tests our computer experts performed. Take a look at our computer buying guide to discover all you should know before selecting the optimal computer for your needs.

Best computers

  • Best computer for overall score
    Overall score reflects all the Ratings factors. Displayed scores are rounded; models are listed in order of precise score, out of a total of 100. Scores are comparable between the 10- to 15-inch detachable laptops, 11- to 15-inch convertible laptops, 11-inch laptops, and 13-inch laptops. They are also comparable between the 14-inch laptops and 15 to 16-inch laptops. Scores for the 17 to 18-inch models are not comparable to other size categories.
    This computer which tested best for Overall score has the following features: Processor, Memory, Log-on security, Operating system, Graphics adapter and graphics memory, Built-in wireless video, 3D capability, Video outputs, Hard drive/sold state drive, Optical drive, Monitor (for desktops), Display (for laptops), Touchscreens, Battery, Case (for desktops), Networking, Mouse, Touchpad, Keyboard, Sound system, Ports, Card slots and Docking station.
  • Best computer for OS
    The operating system that was installed on the computer at the time it was tested. The operating system is the software that controls the basic operation of the computer. Common examples are Windows and Mac OS. The operating system determines the "look and feel" of the PC.
    This computer which tested best for OS has the following features: Processor, Memory, Log-on security, Operating system, Graphics adapter and graphics memory, Built-in wireless video, 3D capability, Video outputs, Hard drive/sold state drive, Optical drive, Monitor (for desktops), Display (for laptops), Touchscreens, Battery, Case (for desktops), Networking, Mouse, Touchpad, Keyboard, Sound system, Ports, Card slots and Docking station.
  • Best computer for ergonomics
    Represents the quality of the keyboard and pointing device, and accessibility of features.
    This computer which tested best for Ergonomics has the following features: Processor, Memory, Log-on security, Operating system, Graphics adapter and graphics memory, Built-in wireless video, 3D capability, Video outputs, Hard drive/sold state drive, Optical drive, Monitor (for desktops), Display (for laptops), Touchscreens, Battery, Case (for desktops), Networking, Mouse, Touchpad, Keyboard, Sound system, Ports, Card slots and Docking station.
  • Best computer for portability
    Based on battery life and weight including the keyboard dock for detachable laptops.
    This computer which tested best for Portability has the following features: Processor, Memory, Log-on security, Operating system, Graphics adapter and graphics memory, Built-in wireless video, 3D capability, Video outputs, Hard drive/sold state drive, Optical drive, Monitor (for desktops), Display (for laptops), Touchscreens, Battery, Case (for desktops), Networking, Mouse, Touchpad, Keyboard, Sound system, Ports, Card slots and Docking station.
  • Best computer for performance
    Based on performance while running productivity applications, multimedia applications, web browsing, and 3D games.
    This computer which tested best for Performance has the following features: Processor, Memory, Log-on security, Operating system, Graphics adapter and graphics memory, Built-in wireless video, 3D capability, Video outputs, Hard drive/sold state drive, Optical drive, Monitor (for desktops), Display (for laptops), Touchscreens, Battery, Case (for desktops), Networking, Mouse, Touchpad, Keyboard, Sound system, Ports, Card slots and Docking station.

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